Bed bugs warning: The ‘musty’ smell you should never ignore – signs of ‘annoying’ bites

Bed bug infestations are the last thing you want to worry about after a busy day, but there are some warning signs that you should always be aware of. One of the easiest ways to know if you have bed bugs is to look out for a “musty” smell.

Bed bugs are small, bloodsucking insects that come out at night to feed on humans.

They spend the daytime in tiny nooks and crannies in the bedroom – usually around the bed frame – before creeping out at night.

The bugs tend to be around the width of a credit card, and while they’re not necessarily dangerous, they can be very annoying.

Some people could be left with a bad reaction to their bites, so it’s always best to keep an eye out for any signs of an infestation.

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One of the easiest ways to tell that you could have an infestation is if you notice your bedroom smelling a bit musty.

It certainly won’t be a pleasant smell, anyway, and has been described as similar to rotten fruit.

The smell comes from the scent gland of bed bugs, while it may also be caused by either the bugs’ droppings, or bugs that have been crushed.

Only the largest infestations produce the distinctive smell, so if you notice it in your home, you may have had bed bugs for months already.

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“The scent gland of bed bugs produces a musty odour that is often described as smelling like coriander,” said Mike Deutsch, and urban entomologist for Arrow Exterminating Company.

“The smell is not pleasant. If you have an infestation of bed bugs you may begin to notice your home smells like mouldy shoes or wet mouldy clothes.

“While many folks describe the smell of a bed bug infestation as smelling like spoiled raspberries, some may also describe it as similar to coriander.

“It may be months of an infestation before a scent is detected. Sometimes after a very heavy infestation that has been around long term, a minty smell is detected also.”


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The most common way to find out that you have a bed bug problem is to discover their bites on your skin.

Bed bug bites tend to appear as red, itchy bumps, and are most likely to appear on parts of the skin that are exposed at night.

If you’re not sure whether the welts are caused by bed bugs, you’ll know it’s caused by the insects if the bites don’t have a red spot in the centre.

The bites will also tend to appear in a line across the skin, as if they stopped for a snack as they moved across your body.


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If you think you may have an infestation, you should check for bed bugs around your bed – including around mobile phones or inside books.

They could attach to clothing, so it’s a good idea to check your wardrobe for any signs of them.

If you do have a bed bug problem, you should clean all bedding, curtains and clothes in hot water, and dry them on the highest setting.

Vacuum the bed and the surrounding area. After finishing, empty the contents of the vacuum into a plastic bag and take it straight out to the bin.

If your mattress is infested, it’s probably a good idea to just get rid of it and buy a new one.

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